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We have shockingly short memories.
I recently started a little project. It’s in the very early stages, so hopefully I’ll have a lot more to report about in the future.
Covid: All Day, Every Day
There was a long period in which there was only one kind of news: All Covid, all day. As an avid fan of keeping up with the times, I noticed that even non-Covid news was still about Covid. Celebrities were no longer getting divorced; they were getting infected. Sports teams were no longer trading players; they were in quarantine.
And for the first time in what seems like forever, the news cycle has shifted to a new topic. And even though Corona is hardly gone from the news, our world, or our conversations, it no longer feels like the hottest topic anymore. It’s page four news, at best.
This all made me start wondering about a world pre-pandemic.
Re-Experiencing the Origins
I found a podcast that stretched back a few years, one that’s just straight-up news. Five minutes of what’s going on in the world.
My original goal was to get a feel for the pandemic in its original state. When it was just something people were taking note of, but not something that was shutting down the whole planet. I want to watch how our knowledge and actions about the disease developed. I want to remember the days when we were told a vaccine would not be available for many, many years. And I want to feel the confusion again of being told we absolutely should not be wearing masks.
And I can’t wait to get there. It sincerely fascinates me.
I started a matter of days ago, and I backed up as far as Spotify would let me. I’m now listening to the craziness of the world starting in July 2019, months before the vast majority of the world ever heard of the Coronavirus. And I couldn’t be more intrigued. Such memories. Such crazy, awful, and bizarre memories!
A Different World
We were so innocent back then.
And I think we’ve forgotten damn near everything that we used to think was a big deal.
I find myself saying over and over again, “Oh yeah, that happened, didn’t it?” I mean, there was a point in very recent history that we couldn’t stop talking about earthquakes in California. Donald Trump dazzled us with so much Covid insanity, we almost forgot that he once told a bunch of politicians to “go back where they came from”. And then there’s Brexit! Everyone’s favorite European debacle, that everyone in the States heard about… but no one really understood enough to have an intelligent opinion on the subject.
A Lost Era
These were highlights in the news of an era that feels like it’s disappeared. A time before we were terrified of walking near strangers. Before we mindlessly wiped down the cereal boxes we just bought at the grocery store. Before we started baking sourdough bread and tried to master the dynamics of Zoom and Peletons and how to bond with co-workers via Slack. Before we developed an odd and disjointed knowledge of the Greek alphabet.
I feel like most of us can speak about events from ten or twenty years ago with greater ease and clarity than we can discuss matters of a mere two or three years ago.
Like the memories of these times just vanished.
The Beginnings of our New Reality
It was just a mere two years ago and change that my wife and I were returning from a brief trip to Vienna. We saw some masks at the airport. We thought it was odd, but didn’t really pay a lot of attention.
We had no idea that in a week people traveling from Vienna would be quarantined. We had no clue that those odd-looking masks would soon be the norm, and an entire industry would be created around them.
And we certainly had no clue that when we emerged from the plane, it would be the last flight we’d take indefinitely.
And who knows what we chatted about on the plane? For sure, we probably spoke about jetlag and luggage and the photos we took. Maybe we spoke about the mysterious “suicide” of Jeffrey Epstein. But for certain we didn’t use words like “pandemic” or “lockdown” or “quarantine” or “n95” or “Omicron” or so many more words that would soon fill up our vocabulary and our sentences, and make us forget that there was a whole different life before Covid came and uprooted everything.
A World of Problems before Covid
We even forgot about the miseries on a day-to-day basis in Israel. I used to joke that Israel needed rain, not because we were reliant upon it for everything in our lives… but because there are no terrorist attacks when it rains. For whatever reason, someone hellbent on blowing himself up in a crowded restaurant can’t be troubled to go outside and possibly catch a sniffle.
And, for the most part, so it was for the past couple of years. The friendly suicide bomber doesn’t want to risk getting a nasty case of the Covids… before blowing himself up into thousands of pieces.
You could say this period was a temporary reprieve from the everyday suffering of life in Israel.
But you could also say we kind of just forgot. We forgot how hard it was. We forgot we had problems long before Covid reared its ugly head.
And now we find ourselves surprised that our enemies still hate us, and those who wanted us drowned in the ocean in a pre-Covid era still want that for us.
But nothing ever changed. We just stopped paying attention for a minute. Our memories faded. And then a world came flooding back to us when things started easing up again.
The Cure for our Short Memories
And here we are. Whether we like it or not, the world never stopped. Covid was just a nasty sauce poured all over the grotesque dinner that existed before its arrival. And we now need to accept, the problems we never solved are still there haunting us, whether they be rampant homelessness in California or twisted wealthy people running sex islands.
I am still curious to re-experience the beginning of the pandemic. I’m sure it will be fascinating and eye-opening. But I’m now equally interested in reminding myself about the world that existed just before everything was turned upside down. We might have shockingly short memories… but it’s hopefully something a good solid reminder can cure.
Forgetting our problems doesn’t solve them.
We should be blessed to cut through all the pervasive garbage of this universe like a Ginzu knife through a tomato!Forgetting our problems doesn't solve them. Click To Tweet